Rewind: ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for’

by Michael O. Allen on April 22, 2008

Obama Draws Record Crowd in Philadelphia By Katharine Q. Seelye, April 19, 2008

PHILADELPHIA — Senator Barack Obama drew what may be his biggest crowd yet here Friday. His campaign, quoting Frank Friel, director of security at the Independence Visitor Center, pegged the number at 35,000.

That would top the 29,000 who showed up in South Carolina in December to see Oprah with Mr. Obama. It would be the biggest campaign event in this long campaign season and one of the largest even for a general election — although still no match for the estimated crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 who greeted Bill Clinton in October 2004, when he appeared at this city’s Love Park with Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee. (That was Mr. Clinton’s first big outing after his heart surgery seven weeks earlier.)

Anyway, Independence Mall certainly was packed tonight.

And Mr. Obama took the opportunity to declare his “independence” from the politics of the past — and from “the say-anything, do-anything politics that’s all about how to win and not about why we should.”

He took aim at both Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, his Democratic opponent, and Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Here are some excerpts from his speech, as prepared for delivery:

This is a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. Our planet is in peril. Our economy is in recession…. [M]ost of all, we’ve lost faith that our leaders can or will do anything about this; we don’t believe that anyone in Washington is listening to us, or standing up for us, or fighting for us.

That’s why this election is our chance to declare our independence from the broken politics of Washington, the cynical politics that puts spin ahead of solutions and the special interests ahead of our interests; the politics that’s all about tearing each other down when what we need is to lift this country up.

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